THE TNT KaTropa slammed the door on erstwhile streaking Blackwater Elite, beating the latter, 117-96, in Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Governors’ Cup action yesterday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Up against one of the hottest teams in the PBA in the season-ending tournament, the KaTropa banked on a total effort to put an end to the winning streak of the Elite while notching back-to-back victories of their own.
TNT got off to a fast start, racing to a 15-4 lead in the first four minutes of the opening quarter.
But Blackwater would rally back, outscoring the KaTropa, 21-13, the rest of the way to narrow its deficit by the end of the period, 28-25.
Saw its comfortable lead vanish, TNT retaliated with eight quick points to open the second period and extend its lead to, 36-25, at the 8:31 mark.
Getting contributions from various source thereafter, the KaTropa continued to bury the Elite, building a 20-point cushion, 53-33, with four minutes to go before closing out things with a 22-point advantage, 62-40, at the half.
In the third canto Blackwater tried to recover some ground but with import Glen Rice, Jr. waxing hot and staying aggressive, TNT continued to hold sway and keep control by the end of the quarter, 92-71.
With momentum pretty much going in their favor, the KaTropa spent the whole of the fourth period just fending off token challenges from the Elite en route to parking the victory.
Mr. Rice led TNT with 31 points, six rebounds, four assists and seven steals while veteran Kelly Williams came off the bench to score 21 points.
Jayson Castro, Rudy Lingganay, Mo Tautuaa, Ryan Reyes, RR Pogoy and Ranidel de Ocampo all scored seven points or better.
Henry Walker, meanwhile, was the highest scorer for Blackwater with 33 points to go along with 18 rebounds.
JP Erram added 18 points for the Leo Isaac-coached Elite while guard Michael DiGregorio had 12 markers.
“I just tried to continue to improve on my game. In this game I think I played better than my first game here. We’re happy that we were able to win today and hopefully we get to sustain this for our next games,” said Mr. Rice, named player of the game, after their win.
The win was the second consecutive for TNT, which improved to 4-2, good for joint fifth place with the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters.
Blackwater (3-4), meanwhile, saw its three-game winning streak halted.
Next for TNT is a meeting with GlobalPort Batang Pier tomorrow while Blackwater also plays on the same day against Kia Picanto.